Story from SWNS
An "extreme stalker" who hacked into a woman's CCTV system to spy on her at home and hounded her with hundreds of threatening messages on Instagram has been jailed.
George Coughlan used 61 social media accounts, including 19 fake Instagram profiles, to bombard the woman with abuse.
Chillingly, he even managed to hack into the victim's security camera system to spy on her at home.
He was caught when he sent the woman a video showing her relaxing in her own living room.
The victim, who knew Coughlan, called police and he was arrested on February 29.
Police seized his phone and discovered that between last December and February Coughlan, 33, had sent hundreds of messages to the woman.
In one sinister message, he told the woman: "I will mek it my dying breath to mek ur life end too. And his.
"On the baby's graves n my dadsa grave. That's how much I mean it now. F***in dead to me.
"N u will be f***ed soon now. U will av nothin."
When the victim blocked Coughlan's messages from one account, he issued a sinister warning using the profile name whymekitworse.
He told the victim: "Uv av to do it don't ya.
"Ok u blocked me once that's it.
"I'm tekkij to the next step.
"Expect a visit. I ay even say in wen."
Police also discovered he had downloaded 67 video files which he took after hacking into the woman's CCTV system.
Examinations of Coughlan's internet search history also revealed he had searched the
name of the woman and her partner.
He also used the phrases including "log into iCloud without verification" and "free mobile phone tracker without user knowing".
Coughlan also researched phone spyware to track SMS messages, calls, social apps and GPS movements.
Coughlan, of Bilston, Wolverhampton, West Mids., admitted stalking involving serious alarm and distress.
On Friday (23/10) he was jailed for 21 months at Wolverhampton Court and handed a five-year restraining order banning him from contacting the victim.
Inspector Cate Webb-Jones, of West Midlands Police Public Protection Unit said:
"Stalking is a serious crime, an invasion of someone's privacy, and as we've seen with this case can result in a significant jail term.
"Coughlan went to extreme lengths to exert control and intrude on his victim's life.
"It was hugely upsetting and she was living day by day in fear. It's simply not
"Social media and easily accessible technology, such as spyware to track mobile phones, is giving stalkers more tools to harass victims and potentially put them in more danger.
"In the last year (April 19 to March 20) we saw reports of stalking and harassment rise by almost a third.
"Much of that is online offending and that trend continued during lockdown as people spent more time on social media.
"We don't differentiate between people abusing or harassing others face-to-face or online: it's still an offence and we will take action.
"We wish the victim well as she continues to rebuild her life following this traumatic experience."